Now is the right time for business to invest in Ukraine, as the invested funds will not only support the Ukrainian economy, but also contribute to future peace in our country and strengthening of security in the world. This was emphasized by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during an online conversation with Forbes magazine chief content officer Randall Lane in the framework of the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy.
Answering the question of how business can help Ukraine during a full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation, the Head of State noted that, in addition to defeating the Russian invader, the priorities of the Ukrainian government include the restoration of the economy and the reconstruction of the country. Therefore, it is necessary to implement important projects right now.
"There are some things that are needed right now, because our life must go on and the economy must work," Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.
Among the important projects, the President named the Fast Recovery Plan, the purpose of which is to create conditions for the homecoming of Ukrainians who, fleeing the war, were forced to seek temporary shelter abroad. In particular, it is about the reconstruction of destroyed housing, educational, medical and other critical infrastructure facilities. It is also important to restore the work of enterprises and create new jobs.
"This requires money and technology. This is where business can help. And these investments are needed now," the Head of State noted and added that assistance is especially relevant in recently de-occupied settlements, where there is almost nothing.
"It is important to give people opportunities. People will work, children will go to school, the economy will work, and the war will not be so expensive for us," he said.
According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in order for Ukraine to be attractive for investments, the authorities are determined to continue creating favorable conditions for doing business, in particular, continue work on eliminating bureaucracy in state institutions, enhance the fight against corruption, etc. Areas that have proven effective even before the full-scale war will also be developed. The digitization of public services not only contributed to reducing the influence of officials on business, reducing the level of corruption, but also helped Ukraine withstand cyberattacks by the enemy, the President stated.
"Today, our state is ready for a direct dialogue with business, for digital services and for the creation of a warm investment climate," he assured.
In addition, Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his belief that representatives of big business, as well as politicians, can influence the states that, in particular, manufacture air defense systems, and facilitate their transfer to Ukraine. This will make it possible to protect the Ukrainian sky and return a safer living space to citizens, the President noted.
The Head of State emphasized: for the victory of Ukraine, it is important that the unity demonstrated by the Ukrainians continues in the unity of further support from the world.
"We have a difficult task: we must keep our state united inside and we must unite the world around Ukraine. I think it is fair, because we protect the values not only of our country, but also of the whole world. If we lose the war with Russia, Europe will lose. We are definitely aware of that. And not only Europe will lose - such outbursts and manifestations of aggression can occur in the world. That is why aggression must be punished," Volodymyr Zelenskyy is convinced.
After the meeting, Randall Lane and the founder of the international humanitarian organization World Central Kitchen, chef José Andrés, announced the honoring of the Ukrainian people with the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award in the "Heroes" category.
José Andrés, whose organization’s representatives work in Kharkiv and other Ukrainian cities, emphasized that for him the greatest honor in life and, in particular, in this time of war, is to help people in Ukraine.
"President Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine are fighting not for freedom and democracy in their country, but for freedom and democracy for all of us - in Europe, America, and generally for freedom and democracy in the world. These are brave people - men and women who are fighting in the name and for each of us," he said and reminded that while this communication is taking place, the Russians are bombing civilian infrastructure and killing civilians.
"And now there are people who save the wounded, put out fires, there are teachers who think about how to organize the education of children in shelters, there are musicians who bring their music and hope to all those who are struggling. There are journalists who are at the forefront doing everything so that we don't forget about what Ukraine is doing. In your person, I award all people in Ukraine. This is an award for your people, President Zelenskyy, and those who are on the frontline," said José Andrés.
The Head of State thanked for highly honoring the courage of Ukrainians and noted that it is also an award for friends and partners of Ukraine - those who, from the first day of the full-scale invasion, help with everything they can in defense, in hot spots, in de-occupied cities.
"This terrible war opened the door and let people into our lives, personalities who, I am sure, would never have appeared in my life and in the lives of ordinary Ukrainians. Today, a part of this award is also yours and of our Western friends, who have been with us side by side since the first day of the war," emphasized Volodymyr Zelenskyy, addressing the founder of World Central Kitchen.
He noted that he would be glad to see Randall Lane and José Andrés in Ukraine again.